So you are into 2016 off on a good start with a solid budget, limiting unnecessary spending, or maybe a plan to get out of debt, and then something gets in the way; getting hacked. Now having your credit card information stolen is a scary thought. I just watched an old Law & Order episode the other night where an elderly man had his identity compromised, leading up to the thief refinancing the home in the victim’s name, walking away with his entire life’s equity. Now that may be an extreme situation, but not only have your information taken in public is something to worry about, but also getting hacked from within your home.
Smart devices are a great thing and are now not only for your phone or computer, but for items within your home. Adding internet capabilities to something such as your thermostat, garage door, or adjusting your lights, can make you feel more control of your household, and also helps to turn the heat down, close the garage, or turn off the lights. While your utility bills may thank you, but you could also be opening up yourself for possible attack, not from burglars, but from internet thieves. Now while it may not be as big as the Law & Order attack, it is still a reminder that while we are getting more technologically advanced, we still need to be smart. We lock our doors every night, so why not protect your internet connectivity to these devices.
While all of the items that you will add connectivity to will be password protected, so you will need to check the user manual to change the password, as many are generic and can easily be found online. There having been stories of theft from within your internet router, Smart TV’s, even baby monitors and webcams that can be compromised. While you should do everything you can to protect from potential attackers, if you do feel that your information may have been cracked, make sure you monitor your credit report. Each year you are able to pull a free copy of your report from the major credit bureaus. If it is immediate damage, you can cancel any card/account that is tied to the device, or even put a freeze on your credit report so that additional credit cannot be opened.